QUESTION: I have purchased a .177 caliber air rifle, single shot, that fires a pellet at 900 feet per second. I want to attach a telescope sight. What power do you recommend?
ANSWER: For general shooting, a 4-power scope is adequate. For serious target shooting, I like a 4x12 scope with adjustable objective lens that allows parallax adjustment at any range.
The most important factor is to acquire a telescope sight that is especially made for an air gun. The recoil from an air gun -- practically unnoticeable -- is a force opposite to the recoil of any other rifle. A rifle using a normal shell will recoil backwards. Air guns recoil forward. A scope designed for a normal rifle will eventually be torn apart inside from the forward recoil of the air gun.
QUESTION: Thank you for your article on purple martins. Two years ago, a rat snake got into my gourds and ate all the baby birds. Last year, I did not have a single martin return. Can you explain?
ANSWER: I had a similar experience five years ago, except with owls instead of snakes. I have had visitors for the past four years but none that stayed. Purple martins have a communication system and after a tragedy like ours, it usually takes five to six years for new residents to occupy the gourds. As long as there are a few birds remaining that witnessed the attacks, they will steer other birds away from the site. I am hopeful that this spring -- my sixth year -- will bring new residents. The only way to speed up this process is to change location of the gourds by at least 200 yards.
QUESTION: I can no longer call in any coyotes on my 500 acres. I called them in regularly with a rabbit call until the action dried up. Any suggestions?
ANSWER: Coyotes can easily be over-called, especially when using the same sound and location each time. These are very intelligent animals, and they will pattern your efforts very quickly. Try calling from different locations, using different sounds like bird, chicken or squirrel distress calls.
On a 500 acre tract, you shouldn’t make more than three set-ups on any given day. After that, wait a month before calling again, and never use the same calling sound at any calling location.
Coyotes mate during January and February. During these two months, howling is a great method. Coyotes communicate with each other frequently during the breeding season. Use a howl that is compelling and non-threatening. Howl once every 15 minutes and stay quietly on stand for at least 45 minutes. I have had several coyotes -- usually alpha males -- to come sneaking in at the 45-minute mark when I had not made a sound for 10 or 15 minutes.
Emory Josey is a freelance writer who has a weekly column. Send questions for him to The Telegraph, P.O. Box 4167, Macon, Ga., 31208-4167, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org